When it comes to eye health, do not overlook your diet

| Sarah Johnson MS, RD, CFP

Healthy eyes are important at any age, and while most adults name eyesight as the most important of their five senses, 83% of them believe that worsening eyesight is inevitable with age.1 There is good news however, there is something that you can do to keep your eyes healthy; and the answer is often at the end of your fork. 

Here are 3 ways you can make a big impact on the health of your eyes:

#1: Omega 3’s are a must:

When it comes to healthy eyes, Omega 3s, often thought of as “fish oil,” play a crucial role.  The retina of the eye contains and requires large amounts of Omega 3s to function properly. 

Consuming sufficient Omega 3’s is highly protective of the eye and is shown to help with:

  • Eyesight in different lighting
  • A reduced risk of retinopathy (a leading cause of blindness)
  • A decreased risk of, and reduced symptoms of dry eye.2
Sources of Omega 3s:
Cod Liver Oil (Limit to 3 times per week due to high levels of vitamin A)
Vegetarian Option: Chia or Flax Seed (Make sure flax seeds are ground to reap the benefits)
Omega 3 Supplements. Look for a company that does 3rd party testing to ensure low mercury levels (Nordic Naturals, 21st Century Healthcare, Olympian Labs are a few)3

#2: Increase your Intake of B Vitamins:

B Vitamins, often thought of as beneficial for energy, are also great for our eyes.  Particularly B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (Folate/Folic Acid), and B12 (Cobalamin). B vitamins help to decrease inflammation, keeping the retina healthy.4  

Sources of B Vitamins:
B6: Pistachios, fortified breakfast cereal, Salmon
B9: Edamame, Lentils, Spinach
B12: Fortified breakfast cereal, Tuna, Salmon

#3 Maintain a healthy weight:

America’s obesity has risen to 40%, and growing research shows that obesity is linked to eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and age-related macular degeneration.  Carrying excess weight places a greater pressure on the blood vessels in the eye, speeding up the development of cataracts and in extreme cases, blindness.5  There is good news however, we know that it does not take copious amounts of intense activity and dramatic weight loss to protect your eyes.  Recent studies show that even moderate amounts of exercise 3 times a week can make dramatic improvements in eye health, and that even a 5% reduction in one’s weight is highly beneficial.6 

Eye Health Prescription:
Moderate exercise at least 3 days/week
5% or more reduction in weight

If you are worried about your eye health, and need help establishing a plan, we have wonderful physical therapists, trainers, and dietitians ready to help. Contact us today!

Sarah Johnson, MS, RD
Live Your Life Dietitian

Sarah Johnson MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian with a strong passion for helping people discover the healing power of food.

Today’s world offers more nutrition information at our fingertips than ever before. However, when it comes to nutrition, there is no one size fits all solution leading many to feel exhausted by years of “trial & error”. Sarah’s mission is to help people weed through the noise and to educate and empower them on simple ways food can help them regain their energy for life. She believes your body was designed to work well; you simply need the tools to get it back on track.

Sarah graduated from the College of St. Benedict with a B.A. in Dietetics and went on to receive an M.S. in Human Nutritional Science from the University of Wisconsin Stout where she focused on using nutrition to help those living with multiple sclerosis and other inflammatory diseases.

Sarah lives in Mahtomedi with her husband and 3 children and loves the access to nature Minnesota living provides all year round.


1. Scott AW, Bressler NM, Ffolkes S, Wittenborn JS, Jorkasky J. Public Attitudes About Eye and

Vision Health. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2016 Oct 1;134(10):1111-1118. doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.2627. PMID: 27490785.

2.Eunyoung Cho, Shirley Hung, Walter C Willett, Donna Spiegelman, Eric B Rimm, Johanna M  

Seddon, Graham A Colditz, Susan E Hankinson, Prospective study of dietary fat and the risk of age-related macular degeneration, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 73, Issue 2, February 2001, Pages 209–218, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/73.2.209

3. Leaf Group. (n.d.). Brands of Mercury-Free Fish Oil. LIVESTRONG.COM. https://www.livestrong.com/article/118775-brands-mercuryfree-fish-oil/.

4. The Best Eye & Vision Supplements (& Vitamins) in 2020. NVISION Eye Centers. (2020, May 24). https://www.nvisioncenters.com/diet-and-eye-health/vitamins-supplements/#:~:text=Highlighted%20below%20are%20the%20specific%20vitamins%20that%20can,you%20absorb%20iron%20better.%20…%20More%20items…%20.

5 Can Obesity Be a Factor in Poor Vision Health? Rebuild Your Vision. (2021, June 22). https://www.rebuildyourvision.com/blog/food-for-your-eyes/can-obesity-be-a-factor-in-poor-vision-health/.

Elizabeth Hanes, R. N. (2020, August 6). What Losing 5% of Your Body Weight Does for Your Health. Healthgrades. https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/weight-control-and-obesity/what-losing-5-of-your-body-weight-does-for-your-health.

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